Thursday, April 30, 2009


This past Fall, I was asked by my supervisor to take a self-contained class of elementary Braille readers. The teacher who usually had them would be out for treatments for lung cancer. I let her know that I would have to have treatments of my own for a form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. My treatments would require that I be able to leave once per month for three days.

I knew the teacher whose place I would take. I warned by super that she may not like the fact that it would be me taking her place. I didn't want to say that she had racial issues. My supervisor assured me that she, the teacher, would be okay with it and that she was more interested in having someone who knew braille and knew how to work with elementary children with visual impairments. I prayed about it, adding that to my prayer list. This teacher had been the kind who would sit in my art class with her students and smile and have a friendly conversation with me and then go directly to the principal's office to complain about something she didn't like in my class.

Later, I had one of her students for summer school. I was familiar with him from my preschool days. The child was definitely ADHD and was on meds for it. Going strictly by the Sally Mangold books and completing endless worksheets was boring him out of his gourd. I couldn't blame him. It was boring for me, too. But then this teacher was notorious for only using this particular book so that any child with any other disability or learning difference--well, they would have problems and not be able to succeed. She was known for being perpetually angry with these children.

Anyway, I took the stories and the signs he was supposed to learn and modified them into funny stories to hold his attention. We'd add more signs and have him read for shorter periods. He was very intelligent and was only completing kindergarten to move into the first grade. By the end of the summer, he'd completed more signs that he was supposed to even though he was not present everyday and missed the last two weeks. Whenever there were visitors on campus, the lead teacher would bring them to observe my class because she was very impressed with the children's progress.

After regular school started the summer school program director came by my school to tell me that she had complained be cause I didn't ever so strictly follow that Mangold text. By the way, it was so old that I saw in the front of the book, the name of a student we had fifteen years earlier back at the school for the blind. I forgave her for that but it seemed in telling her I forgave her she became even more angry. She returned a letter I wrote to her saying that. Anyway, that was YEARS ago and you'd think that would be over with. I did.

So this fall I taught the kids with my own style. I cannot bear to have them sit and braille all day, Blind children have to go, do and touch just like sighted children. I don't believe Sally Mangold even intended her books to be used in such a way. The para continued to teach the old Mangold while I would do language lessons that enhanced their reading, language and spelling. Sometimes they would volunteer to write poems and stories for me.

The principal enjoyed my class and came to observe about five times during the semester. I'd photographed all our activities and made audio and video recordings. They were compiled and made into a video for Christmas presents for the parents and our principal.

Well, the word got back to this "teacher" that I was doing a spectacular job with the kids and just having TOO much fun. This lady tells her doctor that she is ready to go back to work. When she gets back, she immediately starts talking with parents about how I really didn't teach the children anything. It was all in their imaginations. Of course they knew better, because most of them had been in the class and they had that really nice video Christmas present!

One of my coworkers said, "Wow! Such insecurity!" While I was downloading my teaching certificate on line she decided to look up the other teacher's certificate and said, "Well, here's why we're so insecure about you. You're a Black woman with more education and more certifications than she has. How dare you!"

Even though I am back to being itinerant and hardly at that school for a full day, I'm supposed to be, in her world, talking to the children to try to take their affections from her. I think her chemo treatments may make her a little delusional and that she returned to work too soon. So I forgive her again and seventy-times seven times I will because I have to. That doesn't mean that I don't watch my back.

That is why the email below is appropriate. One of my Kairos brothers sent it to me. I'm not sure that these are actually words from Maya Angelou, but they fit. Here it is:

This is cool! Sounds just like a coworker of mine. She's so much of a hater she's become delusional--big time! Join me in prayer for her and others like this.

Haters/ By Maya Angelou

A hater is someone who is jealous and envious and spends all their
time trying to make you look small so they can look tall.
They are very negative people to say the least. Nothing is ever
good enough!

When you make your mark, you will always attract some haters...

That's why you have to be careful with whom you share your
blessings and your dreams, because some folk can't handle seeing
you blessed...

It's dangerous to be like somebody else... If God wanted you to be
like somebody else, He would have given you what He gave them! Right?

You never know what people have gone through to get what they

The problem I have with haters is that they see my glory, but they
don't know my story...

If the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, you
can rest assured that the water bill is higher there too!

We've all got some haters among us!

Some people envy you because you can:
a) Have a relationship with God
b) Light up a room when you walk in
c) Start your own business
d) Tell a man/woman to hit the curb
(if he/she isn't about the right thing)
e) Raise your children without both parents being
in the home

Haters can't stand to see you happy.
Haters will never want to see you succeed.
Most of our haters are people who are supposed to be
on our side.

How do you handle your undercover haters?
You can handle these haters by:

1. Knowing who you are & who your true friends are

2. Having a purpose to your life: Purpose does not
mean having a job. You can have a job and still be

A purpose is having a clear sense of what God has called you to be.
Your purpose is not defined by what others think about you.

3. By remembering what you have is by divine
prerogative and not human manipulation.

Fulfill your dreams! You only have one life to live...when its your
time to leave this earth, you want to be able to say, 'I've lived my
life and fulfilled my dreams, Now I'm ready to go HOME!

When God gives you favor, you can tell your haters, 'Don't look at
me...Look at who is in charge of me...'

Pass this to all of your family & friends who you know are
not hating on you including the person who sent it to you.

If you don't get it back, maybe you called somebody out!
Don't worry about it, it's not your problem, it's theirs.
Just pray for them, that their life can be as fulfilled as
yours! Watch out for Haters...BUT most of all don't become

'A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man
should have to seek Him first to find her.'

Maya Angelou

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